What is Magnesium Citrate?
Magnesium is an essential mineral, and it is present in every cell of every living organism. It serves as a cofactor for more than 600 enzymes and is critical for life. Its most prominent roles include synthesizing ATP for energy, metabolizing carbohydrates, and synthesizing DNA and RNA. Despite its importance, magnesium deficiency is common worldwide. Up to 15% of the global population is magnesium deficient, as their diets don’t often include enough magnesium-rich foods. Good food sources include leafy greens, nuts, beans, seeds, and animal tissue.
Magnesium citrate is a magnesium salt combined with citric acid, and it is one of the most common supplemental forms available. It has significantly greater bioavailability compared to magnesium oxide, and its high water solubility makes it easy to add to liquids. Magnesium deficiency has a strong correlation with certain medical conditions, including type 2 diabetes, digestive diseases that affect nutrient absorption, hypertension, alcoholism, and obesity.
Potential Magnesium Citrate Benefits
Magnesium Citrate for Constipation
In high doses, magnesium citrate helps relieve constipation by attracting water into the intestines. The increased water helps soften stools and stimulates bowel movements. Due to its effectiveness, individuals often take large doses of magnesium citrate when preparing for colonoscopies.
Magnesium Citrate for Sleep
Magnesium supplements may also improve sleep quality, latency, and duration. A magnesium deficiency can cause sleeplessness, as the body needs magnesium to achieve optimal sleep. It also helps regulate the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Taking magnesium supplements may also improve sleep by promoting relaxation. Magnesium activates the parasympathetic nervous system and binds to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. These mechanisms promote calmness and reduce neuronal excitability.
Magnesium for Exercise Performance
Magnesium supplements may aid exercise performance, as the body needs more magnesium during physical activity. Individuals with magnesium deficiency tend to experience the most notable improvements in exercise performance. However, magnesium supplements can benefit exercise performance in individuals without a deficiency. One study found magnesium supplements improved muscle mass and power output in women, enhanced physical performance in volleyball players, and protected against muscle damage in professional cyclists.
Other Potential Magnesium Citrate Benefits
Magnesium deficiencies can lead to excessive stress and poor moods. It also makes individuals more susceptible to stress. Chronic stress further depletes magnesium, leading to a vicious stress cycle. Restoring magnesium levels may alleviate these effects.
Magnesium also exerts anti-inflammatory and mild analgesic effects. It reduces muscle cramping, and it may improve PMS symptoms as well. Magnesium helps support bone health and may reduce the risk of developing weak and brittle bones.
Potential Magnesium Citrate Side Effects
Magnesium is an essential nutrient, and supplements are safe for most individuals. Large doses can cause upset stomach and diarrhea. Magnesium may interact with certain antibiotics, heart medications, and diuretics. Consult with a physician before taking any new supplement.
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